From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|Length:||40.6 miles (65.3 km)|
|Former Number(s):||A376, A38|
|Now part of:||A376, A3015|
|Barnstaple • Exeter •|
|Route outline (key)|
The A377 can be a fantastic or awful road depending on when you're travelling. If it's during the night, then it provides a great shortcut meaning no long detour via the M5 and A361, which can get very boring especially if you use it often! However, during the daytime, you'll probably get stuck behind a farm vehicle or some tourist trundling along at 40mph throughout - and with only one good overtaking oppertunity at Morchard Road, it can become even more boring than the Link Road! The A396/A361 combo is a better option normally.
Exeter - Barnstaple
Now, the A377 begins at Alphington Junction on the A30 south of Exeter, and almost immediately passes some of the city's retail parks and industrial estates. It then proceeds through residental areas before we emerge at the Exe Bridges - one of Exeter's biggest bottlenecks. It is the point where the inner bypass and the main through-route of the A377 meet, and a relatively new retail park has only added to local congestion.
From the Exe Bridges, the A377 runs parallel to the river Exe, and after a short while the main railway line and Exeter St Davids station. There is a double-mini roundabout, and after about half a mile the A377 TOTSO's with the main road into the city centre and its car parks. A large part of the remaining residential area is part of the halls of residents for students of the nearby University, and we also pass the road's only speed camera.
All the road signs in the city direct drivers only to Crediton along the A377, with Barnstaple being signed along the M5 (mostly on original temporary yellow signs). This has meant a lot of patching on direction signs along the A377 in the city. Oddly, despite the A361 taking most of the tourist traffic, the A377 is still signed as the 'Tourist Route to Exeter/Barnstaple' at both ends.
On the northern extremities of Exeter, the A377 deviates to the left at a roundabout, with the A396 going straight ahead towards Tiverton.
We are parallel to the Tarka Line, and follow it the whole way to Barnstaple. We proceed through Cowley, Half Moon (named after the local pub - one of two places to do that en-route) and Newton St Cyres before making our way to Crediton.The road passes through some narrow streets before meeting and multiplexing with the A3072 for the next few miles. The route then goes along the High Street, and makes its way out towards Copplestone through open countryside.
Copplestone has an odd road layout. The A377 turns into a one-way system, but part of the northbound carriageway is two-way to cater for the A3072 which meets here. The southbound A377 gives way to the A3072 traffic, meaning a TOTSO southbound, but not northbound.
Not long afterwards, we pass through the only straight stretch at Morchard Road where the B3220 splits off towards Winkleigh, and a few miles after that we reach Lapford. For a few miles after the village, the road has a 50mph limit (for no apparent reason), and enter Eggesford forest. At Eggesford itself, we pass within yards of the railway line and station, complete with level crossing for a side road. The B3042 to Witheridge (mostly single track) also leaves here. Then comes more A377 type road, through wooded valleys parallel to the railway line. It pretty much stays that way past Kings Nympton where the B3226 heads towards South Molton, and past Portsmouth Arms - the other place (with railway station) named after a pub. After a few more miles of valley, we reach Umberleigh where we multiplex with the B3227 for a short while. The road opens out after the village, and it is open countryside for pretty much the rest of the journey. We pass Chapelton station and pass over a quite long bridge and embankment combo over the Taw and its flood plain, and the railway. The road then goes through Bishop's Tawton, and finishes just the other side of the village on the A361 Bishops Tawton Roundabout.
In 1922, the A377 started on the A376 near Topsham, before running into Exeter and on to Barnstaple. Then in 1935 the entire A376 between Clyst St Mary and Exmouth was renumbered A377, giving the road a short spur to the then-A35. With the building of the M5, the southern end of the A377 was moved to meet the bypass, so the A376 got its number back, the road through Topsham was declassified and most of the rest became A3015.
Original Author(s): David Brown